January 17th, 2008 by Scott Gold
Though my appetites are many and varied, I’m not particularly inventive when it comes to kitchen wizardry. Usually, when faced with having to cook for myself, I’ll go with old standbys rather than whip up something new and cool. It’s just so much easier to make a simple pasta or a turkey sandwich than risk destroying my kitchen in order to try something novel. Hell, if I want an exotic specialty dish prepared and served in an artful or clever way, I’ll go to a restaurant, in which the kitchens — much unlike my own — are often filled with dedicated professionals who actually know how to, you know, cook. But every now and then, I feel that itch to get creative in the kitchen. In this case, said itch arose when I purchased a nice big block of Pennsylvania country scrapple in the Union Square Green Market, courtesy of High Hope Hogs, seen here:
If you’re yet unfamiliar with this tasty delicacy, here’s what scrapple is all about, according to the Field Guide to Meat: “A Pennsylvania Dutch specialty, this mixture of sausage (traditionally head meat) and cornmeal is molded into a rectangular or cylindrical shape and then sliced. It’s often fried and served with eggs and grits.” Mmmmm…fried pork bits. And just in case there was any question of which porky parts my particular scrapple contained, here’s a close up of the label:
Nothing like pork jowels, skin, hearts and livers first thing in the morning, right? Nom nom nom! Seriously, though, if you’ve ever eaten a hot dog, you’ve probably ingested these same ingredients (and probably plenty less savory ones, to boot), so it’s really nothing to into a snit over. Not to mention that a well-made country scrapple is something of powerful deliciousness. If you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out.
Here’s where things got interesting. Instead of going with the traditional “eggs over scrapple” breakfast plate, I decided that the shape of the sliced scrapple would fit perfectly on the whole wheat squagels I’d just picked up a sort of a novelty. Yes, I know, David Cross finds the whole idea of the squagel — or “square bagel” — beyond ridiculous, but hey, it’s my breakfast, not his. Add a poached egg and melted cheese, and voila…I will have invented the world’s first Scrapple McSquagel! Should you like to make one of these for yourself, here’s how I did it:
First, get yourself some squagels, like this one:
Slice the scrapple about 1/3 – 1/2 inch thick, and fry in a hot, buttered skillet, as such:
When the scrapple is nicely browned on both sides, place it on the bottom half of the toasted squagel:
Now here’s the kicker: how can you easily cook an egg that will fit perfectly on your breakfast sandwich? This is a McGuyver-esque trick my mother taught me, one that I’ve been using for years. Crack your raw egg into a oiled coffee mug. Yes, a coffee mug. Poke the yoke a couple of times to make sure it doesn’t explode, and season with salt, pepper, or, my favorite, Tony Chacere’s Creole seasoning blend. Cover the coffee cup in cling wrap and microwave for about 30-45 seconds, until egg is just cooked through. When done, it should pop right out of the mug and you can place it atop the meat, like so:
The final step is to melt a little cheese atop the egg and scrapple. It was a close call, but I decided on Jarlsburg over cheddar, though either would have been great. Just a couple of minutes in the toaster oven (employing the tray, so as not to burn the bottom of the squagel), and there you are.
Ta da! Your Scrapple McSquagel (TM) is done. Enjoy!